Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bouldering and Rock Climbing

Our property is scattered with boulders that the children love to climb when they visit.

This one, which is in the garden, they all have conquered.

This boulder at the front of the house is a challenge that they are slowly conquering.

The big kids can make it but the little ones still have a bit of a problem.

And they are eying this one that is in the back yard. We call it the Mini Half Dome because it reminds me of another rock formation:

The Half Dome, a giant boulder in Yosemite National Park in California. I took this photo when we were hiking there last year. You cannot see it in the picture but there is a cable path and ladder attached to the top of the Half Dome that people use to climb to the top. You can learn more about it here. The video is a little long but worth taking the time to watch.

Needless to say, we did not go up there. I am a bit fearful of heights and Arch was very happy not to go :)
We are considering building a version of the cable path to the top of our Mini Half Dome so the kids can get to the top. What do you think?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Halifax Waterfront at Dawn

Yesterday morning I was lucky to be on the Halifax Waterfront. What a glorious spot it is at dawn.

This oil drilling platform is the last from the Nova Scotia offshore oil fields. It is in port while looking for a new place to work. Rather sad as it represents a lot of lost revenue for the province.

The sunrise over Halifax Harbour.This looks like a great place to go to work in the early morning hours.

The tugs are at work early getting this barge in place for the work day.

The first cruise ship of the day is in port and being resupplied for the next leg of the journey.

If you look carefully I think there is another cruise ship in the distance

Which this tug may be going to assist into port.

Sure enough. Here it comes.

This sail boat appears to be overnighting in port but no one is up to greet the dawn.

I cannot help but wonder about a sightseeing tour to the Titanic. I know it is to the burrial site but that is not what the sign says.

Amos Pewter brings a bit of Mahone Bay to the waterfront.

Historic Properties is still asleep.

But lots of people were headed for work at Purdy's work which was looking majestic in the rising sun.

On my way back to the hotel I ran into this gentleman fishing for mackerel just in front of the cruise ship. He tells me the harbour is "clean as a whistle" and he comes here to fish nearly every morning.

Friday, September 10, 2010

My Three Favourite Things About Golf

This is Arch and his buddy, Norman, on a golf course in Palm Desert California. It is obvious from this picture that they love golf. So do I. I am not very good at it (truth be told I am downright bad) but I have fun and that is the main thing. To me golf is a great excuse to go outside and play.

My three favourite things about the game of golf:

  1. It is a very social game. The game involves lots of standing around and moving from hole to hole so there is lots of time to chat and visit with your fellow players. And then there is the 19th hole....
  2. You are really only competing against yourself. I know lots of guys like to bet on holes and create a competition but for me the only person I am playing against is me. Trying to better my score from the last time, sink a putt I missed on a previous occasion or drive the ball 10 yards further - there is always a challenge, but it is a personal one.
  3. Each new hole is a new opportunity to do well (I am a glass half full kind of person). If you make a real mess of a hole you walk on to the next one and there it is, spread out in front of you, a brand new chance to excel.

PS Can you find the coyote in this picture?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Home Remedies for Treating Plantar Fasciitis

It's been a very busy summer and I am afraid I have been neglecting this blog. I plan to be more active in the fall, when hammock season slows down a bit. In the meantime...

I came across this video on the blog Vibrant Nation and feel it is very useful information for anyone who likes to go outside. Plantar Fasciitis has been my nemesis this summer so I plan to follow these suggestions closely. Hope it helps any of you with the same problem. I am thinking that the stretchs might be useful in avoiding the problem in the first place so plan to do them on both feet.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Walking 18 kms

Last January Lori Lang of issued a challenge to get healthy in 2010. She called it the 10 in 2010 Challenge: Ten Weeks to Healthy on 2010.  I decided that Arch and I should participate so we signed on and set goals.

By changing our eating habits, walking and, for me, yoga we met our 10 week goals (it took Arch 12 weeks but he made it).  I decided that I wanted to keep going and lose another 10 pounds before summer. I walk each weekday morning with my sister. The church she attends decided to have a fund raising walk-a-thon on June 19 2010 - the distance 18 kms. So we decided that our goal would be to participate in that walk. After training all winter and spring the walk was yesterday:

 It was a beautiful day. Fourteen of us started at out from St Paul's Church in Seabright. That is me with my ever-present water bottle dangling from my waist. We were joined by others along the way. The parish consists of 4 churches around St Margaret's Bay so the idea was to walk from church to church.

Here we are leaving church #2. St Margaret's in Tantallon after a coffee break. That is my sister Mary in the foreground. The first 9 kms of our walk were along the Peggy's Cove Road so we had a RCMP escort - you can see his car in the background. The group was beginning to scatter at this point as each person walked at our own pace.

There was still a long walk ahead.

At the half-way point we were able to move onto The St Margaret's Bay Trail. Built on the former rail bed this is a great walking, biking and hiking trail.

The trail was a very busy at the Bike and Bean. A great neigbourhood coffee and bike shop in the old train station.

A view from the trail

Shining Water's Marina in the distance. We walked by there 3 hours previous.

You can barely see the spire of Church #3, St George's through the trees. We walked by this one as there was no good exit from the trail in this spot.

And, finally, the end - a barbeque at St James. Took us three hours (not including coffee breaks) to complete the walk. After lunch I came home and rested in the hammock for 2 hours :)

But it is not the end of the 10 in 2010 challenge for me. So far I have lost 25 lbs and plan to keep going until I lose another 5 to 10 lbs. Any suggestions as to what my next walking challenge should be? I plan to take a bit of a break for the summer. Mary and John are going to Australia and New Zealand for 3 months in early September so I will be on my own this fall so don't make it too difficult.

And a special thank you to Lori Lang for getting me started on this project. I wonder how many lives you changed by issuing your challenge?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Diary of a Garden

There is a small garden at the northwest corner of our house that I find very difficult to get looking just as I would like. It gets the early morning and late afternoon sun and is subject to the northwest wind as it whips off the ocean. In other words it is a tough spot for plants to exist. This year I am giving it one last chance to survive.

I purchased the annuals for this spot from Valerie at the Hubbards Farmers' Market. I know from experience that plants from Valerie are healthy and will grow well.

The plants  pretty much filled the back of my Smart Car.

 I chose begonias as they do well in part shade and make simple beautiful table centerpieces for dinner parties, etc.

I left in place a small bleeding heart and some sweet woodruff that seem to be doing well in this location. Moved a tall grass that grows well in another, very windy, spot in the yard and planted it at the corner the wind whips around. Finally I added a hosta plant a neighbour gave me. It will fill in the spot where 3 rather lonely daffodils are growing.

The tree stump is a permanent feature. I am not about to tackle that :).

I will post photos occasionally so you can follow the garden's growth and see how it does.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Summer is Here

May 24 weekend is the official start of summer in Nova Scotia and most of Canada. Go outside and have fun

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Reflections and Shadows

Photography is a fascinating hobby and a great reason to go outside and have fun. For the past three weeks I have been participating in a fun e-course called the Sensational Snap Society Course. Each week Shelagh, our teacher, presents a new challenge designed to encourage us to see the world through different eyes. This week's challenge is to look for the hidden shadows and reflections around us. I thought you might be interested in some of the reflections I found in the various bodies of water that exist in mother nature's playground in this area.

Rain created an interesting effect on the reflection of this tree in the river.

Signs of spring: a reflection of a budding branch and rocks at the river's edge.

Electric wires and pole in a puddle.

Shadows and reflections on the ocean floor.

It was raining the day I took these photos so not too many shadows were to be found. It is beautiful & sunny today so I am off on a shadow search.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Rum Spill in Ingramport

Today, during our morning walk along the trail, Mary and I noticed the side of a box car lying in the moss over the embankment. It looked like it had been there a long time, especially since they stopped running trains out here 20 or 30 years ago.
Then Mary remembered, back in the 1970s there was a train derailment and one of the cars that derailed was carrying liquor to Nova Scotia Liquor Commission stores along the route.

Needless to say, word of the derailment spread quickly and local people came out in droves to collect the spoils. Many returned their finds to the local authorities but many did not. Most of the rum went missing. Nova Scotians love their rum - sailors love to kick back with a Dark and Stormy (rum and ginger beer) and we all love a rum and coke, or, on a special occasion, a Cuba Libre (add a lime wedge to your rum and coke).  Apparently there were lots of great kitchen parties in this area after the wreck :).

We walked a long way this morning (about 8.5 kms we think).

The road home looked very long.

But we are still here to talk about it. Our goal is to do an 18 km walk on June 18 to raise money for the Parish of French Village, the local Anglican parish. So we still ave a way to go.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Easter Egg Hunt

One of the Easter highlights at our house is the arrival of the Easter Bunny and the ensuing Easter egg hunt:

 He is a little large

 But the smallest amongst us watch from a distance so as not to scare him.

 Then it is time to find and share the Easter eggs

 And take the time to savour them - one at a time

Friday, April 2, 2010

Signs of Spring

One of the great things about the snow-free winter we had is that the trails are already dry enough to walk on. This morning Mary and I went for a dawdly (is that a word?) walk along the St Margaret's Bay trail searching out signs of spring. I took lots of pictures, some came out well, some did not. That's why I am joining Shelagh Duffett's Sensational Snap Society. :) The course starts today, actually.

Alder beards and buds.
Hubby, Arch is patiently waiting for the alder leaves to appear.
When they get as large as a mouse's ear it is time to go trout fishing.
Fishing season opened yesterday.

 The maples are getting ready to bud

The crocus are peeking from the ground.

 The lupins are not far behind

 Roaring brooks are carrying spring snow melt down to the sea.

I love early spring. It is such a positive and hopeful time of year.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Two Extremes to Go Outside and Try

It is hard to beat spring skiing and snowboarding after an overnight drop of fresh powder at Whistler/Blackcomb in British Columbia:

And then there is kite surfing and buggying at Conrad Beach in Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia:

Which do you prefer?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sugaring Off Party

This Grandma Moses painting, depicting a sugaring off party (prints are available for purchase here: Buy artwork by Grandma Moses at in Quebec reminds me of how much fun it is to go outside and head to the sugar bush during late winter and early spring. "Sugaring Off" refers to the tapping of maple trees to harvest the sap that runs freely at that time. Stands of maple trees suitable for harvesting sap are called the "sugar bush".

Here in Nova Scotia a favourite maple syrup producer is Sugar Moon Farm in Earltown. Sugar Moon is the Native American name for the full moon of the sugaring off season - the month of freezing nights & warm days that usually occurs in March/April (it is also called maple moon).

Sugar Moon Farm, owned by Scott Whitelaw and Quita Gray, is a member of the Atlantic EconoMusee Network, the same Artisans at Work network that The Bay Hammock Company belongs to. We are a network of shops that are 'living museums' where you can discover the history of a craft or trade, meet the artisans, and find out first hand how we are adapting traditional know-how to modern needs.

The sugaring off season is the perfect time to visit Sugar Moon Farm. At the farm you can hike (or snowshoe if there is too much snow to hike) to the sugar bush, follow the production process from tree to table, then sit at the table and enjoy a traditional sugar camp meal in the log Pancake House. Don't forget to purchaes some maple products to take home. If, like me, you are a keen hiker you could also hike the Rogart Mountain Trail - a 6 km wilderness trail that starts and ends at Sugar Moon's parking lot. Maps are available at the farm. Don't go without one. All in all Sugar Moon provides a great way for the whole family to go outside and have fun.

We are going to Sugar Moon in a couple of weeks when the amber maple syrup, which runs late in the season, is available. It is our favourite. My friend, Shelagh, attended the maple syrup festival in Earltown and dropped in at Sugar Moon last weekend. You can share her experience here.